SpaceShipOne Designer Rutan Plans Retirement

Burt Rutan, the designer of the first, commercial spacecraft to reach space, SpaceShipOne, said Wednesday that he plans to retire in April next year. Rutan, who founded Scaled Composites, the firm which designed SpaceShipOne, is currently Chief Technical Officer of Scaled Composites, which is based in Mojave. Scaled Composites said Rutan will keep the title of founder and Chairman Emeritus of the company. Rutan's team won the $10M Ansari X Prize run by the X Prize Foundation, and is part of the Virgin Galactic team which is developing a new version of the SpaceShipOne for commercial spaceflight operations. Virgin Galactic is a joint venture of Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Scaled Composites. (Image: Virgin Galactic)